Transportation headlines, Friday, September 27

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ART OF TRANSIT: The Gold Line, via our Instagram page.

Gate latching hits a roadblock (ZebWeb)

Good story. Here’s the top:

L.A.’s subway system has locked its gates and finally moved past an honor system that’s been in place for more than two decades. But it’s a different story at dozens of Metro light rail stations, which usually have stand-alone fare-card readers but no barriers to entry.

David Sutton, Metro’s deputy executive officer in charge of the gate-latching project, said that won’t change any time soon. Last week, in response to a July motion from several members of the Board of Directors, Sutton and his team released a report on the feasibility of installing lockable turnstiles on Phase 1 of Expo Line and at future stations throughout the expanding rail system.

“We’re not going to be able to lock them all,” Sutton said. “Some of the stations just don’t lend themselves to gates because of the space available and the cost.”


Some stations on the light rail system are already equipped with turnstiles, and their latching is slated for completion by February, Sutton said. On the Gold Line, the 5 out of 21 stations with turnstiles were latched earlier this month. Next up is the Blue Line, where 6 of 21 stations are scheduled to be latched in December, followed by all 14 stations of the elevated Green Line.

Along all Metro’s light rail routes, there currently are 41 stations where customers can enter without a barrier requiring payment, including the entire first phase of Expo Line. Sutton and his team examined the possibility of installing barriers at all non-gated light rail stations and have identified 13 for further analysis.

For those interested in this issue, please read the entire article. There’s a lot of info in there, including a good nugget about ticket sales rising on the Red/Purple Lines in August.

Legislature OKs CEQA changes (The Independent)

A bill was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown that includes some gentle changes to state law governing how big projects are studied and what kind of lawsuits can be filed against them. The changes deal in part with parking for infill projects in urban areas with more than 50,000 people. The Legislature’s intention is to make it easier for projects to be built and studied; we’ll see if it works out that way.

Roads kill map (Pulitzer Center)

The map shows the rate of road deaths in countries across the globe. Among the worst: Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand and Venezuela, all with more than 30 deaths per one million residents.


10 replies

  1. The Honor system is just another screw up brought to the MTA by former LACTC employees who knew nothing about transit. Those at the former RTD knew it wouldn’t work but they were either over ruled or terminated.

  2. Latching is great; should have been done to begin with. Something needs to be done about the vendors on the blue line that constantly sell candy, cds, and even cigarettes.

  3. Josh Young, my understanding is tapping out is being investigated. I think it will be necessary to make possible distance and time based fares some Board members (especially John Fasana) have championed. But there are complications — not fatal but it may take a while to work things through.

  4. Dana,

    The old system involved random and seldom fare inspectors. There’s so many ways to “beat the system” under the old honor system. You see a fare insector coming aboard, cheaters can simply get off at the next station and wait for the next train. Security cameras do jack, all it does it hangs there on top and record. And most realistic of all, tax funding and labor issues aside, you’re not going to see fare inspectors onboard 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day on all the Metro lines and all the Metro stations to check every single Metro rider that gets on board. Anyone who rides Metro daily can see through the flaws of this.

    The current system involves a stationary machine that won’t let you into the station without a TAP-in. The gates and turnstiles are there 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and is capable of checking the huge volume of increasing number of Metro riders going through that station every day. Furthermore, machines don’t ask for breaks, they don’t go on vacation, and they don’t ask for pay raises. And it’s a simple concept. Cost wise, it’s cheaper and more efficient to do than saturating the entire system with human fare inspectors at taxpayers’ expense.

    Now, knowing that, which one do you think is going to produce more accurate and real results? The one that is so human labor intensive at taxpayers’ expense and extremely flawed to collect that huge volume of data, or the one that is capable of automatically collecting data 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day with a standalone machine?

    That being said, yes, more can be done to close the loopholes that still exist. As others have said, while there’s a substantial increase in revenue and more people are actually paying to ride, there’s still the problem of cheaters using the disabled access gates. A strategic placement of one police officer at such problem areas would solve that problem which ensuring the safety of the station. TAP out on exit is another approach to look into as well. If the cheater rides the train for free from a non gate latched station but cannot get at the destination which is gate latched, then the officer can then apprehend them guilty as charged.

  5. “For years system checks seemed to show fare evasion was in the low single digits. What is the explanation that reconciles the old numbers and the new?”

    Simple. There were never any true and effective system checks going on. Anyone who’ve actually ridden Metro under the honor system saw that happening daily. If you didn’t figure out what was happening, you must’ve been in denial or were just sticking your head in the sand. It was plain obvious that fare evasion was high.

    But hey, you chose to trust government “figures,” that’s no one’s fault but yours. Hopefully, it opened up your eyes to see things in a wider perspective, scrutinize government “facts” and not digest every propaganda government agencies like to belch out.

  6. Time to look at latching gates on exit and doing tap out. That’s the only practical solution to check for fare evaders if not all the stations are capable of being latched. If you can catch them in riding for free at the entry point, you catch them guilty of riding for free at the exit point.

  7. I know the gate zealots may be horrified at my perspective, but am I the only one concerned at the disconnect the claimed increased ticket sales represent? For years system checks seemed to show fare evasion was in the low single digits. What is the explanation that reconciles the old numbers and the new?

    • Hi Dana;

      I’m not horrified! 🙂

      My own three cents: I never thought the previous estimates on fare evasion were rock solid and I thought the numbers that were out there seemed perhaps low compared to what I was seeing on the rail system.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. Since the Red Line gates have been locked, I’ve seen countless people simply reach over the top / side of the emergency exit gates and pull them open.

    Turning on the alarms would be great, but it just wouldn’t work very well in a station like North Hollywood. The alarms would be sounding all day.

    If someone hauls their bike up the stairs, or brings it up the escalator, they find themselves with the choice of lifting their bike over the turnstiles or wheeling it through an emergency exit. Guess which one they’re more likely to choose.

    The lone accessible gate leads directly to the elevator on the mezzanine level, not the stairs and escalators. The wait for that elevator can be a long one and it’s not uncommon to stand and wait through two or more trips.

  9. “Metro Design Criteria Architectural and Systems Sections 6 and 9 will be modified requiring Fare Gates at future At-Grade Stations.”

    Good start to avoid fixing costly mistakes in the future.